Leading by 15 in the first half, Rutgers allowed the Colonials to chip away and take a second-half lead. When the Scarlet Knights needed it most, however, they made the necessary free throws to come out on top.
"We definitely would have lost this game last year," said senior captain Dane Miller. "They would have went on a run, we would have turned the ball over allowing them to score."
Sophomore guard Elijah Carter led Rutgers in scoring with 19, but continued to struggle from outside going 1-for-7. Sophomore Kadeem Jack scored a career-high 12 points of the bench and led the team with six rebound.
Solid defense proved the difference-maker down the stretch. Rutgers forced 23 turnovers, including two in the final minute.
"This team has trouble with pressure," said head coach Mike Rice. "So forcing 23 turnovers was the difference in this game because we certainly didn't rebound."
Rutgers (6-2) returns to action Sunday at the Louis Brown Athletic Center, taking on UAB.